« A visit to Torquay | Main | Violence for Peaceniks? »

September 28, 2009


Sheila Connolly

My first hands-on experience with firearms was at an event sponsored by Second Amendment Sisters. They (we?) may be fewer in number, but equally enthusiastic once they get involved ("I used to be a housewife, but now I'm a statewide target pistol champion..."). And I now have a firearms permit (long story), something I never expected.

Bill Crider

I went to a big gun show in Houston a couple of years ago. My favorite thing was a sign at a booth where a guy was selling jerky. The sign said, "If you don't like it, spit it on the floor."


I've been to one gun show (in Texas) with my late father, who was a hunter. It is definitely like a whole other country (to steal the Texas ad campaign of the 80s). I felt so out of place.

chris adams

Ten percent of the people who were there were women.
What did you notice about them?
Age, ethnicity, role etc?

Charlaine Harris

Most of the women present were dealers, or were there to help their husband who were gun dealers. They were all white and middle aged. I saw a few teenage girls, there with their boyfriends, I guess, and they were almost all Hispanic-American, if that's a real term. There were very few women in other categories; a few older women had come with their husbands: older as in 65 and up.

Bill, I regret now not going by the buffalo jerky stand.


Gun shows can be pretty fascinating, no matter where you are on the Second Amendment debate.

My husband is European; guns are illegal in his country, and only the police carry them.

On his second visit to the US (this was before we were married), I took him to a gun show, with the assurance that it would be a unique experience, something he'd never done before. I'd already taught him how to shoot a pistol and a rifle.

Anyway, he had a great time, because he looked at it like another cultural experience. He enjoyed talking to the "gun nerds" (the collectors), and had a few, uh, "interesting" conversations with a couple of conspiracy theorists.

He looked at the whole thing like a "When in Rome" moment, except it was more like "When in the Western US, do as the cowboys do."

I've encountered far less "gun nuts" than I've encountered "gun nerds".

Pretty cool post, Charlaine.


I like "gun nerds" - great phrase. You will see the same breakdown of participants at NRA conventions, where I suppose you might expect the predominance of middle aged white men because it is more of a political event. There will be more women at conventions, because they attend with spouses or significant others, but we spouses are bussed off to sightsee, for the most part, while the men get down to the business of the day (even though the current president of the NRA is a woman, and she's not the first woman president). The gun show at every convention is almost all guys, going obessively from booth to booth. I have to tell you, as a woman, that the courtesy you noticed definitely applies. A lot of these people are ex-military, and there is a notion of protection and courtesy that goes along with service to the country.

Toni LP Kelner

The one time I was at a gun show, I had no interest in the guns at all. It was the fact that some of the dealers carried swords and really big knives that attracted me. I guess I'm a sword geek. I'd be nervous about a gun in the house, other than perhaps a derringer, but I have several swords.

Dana Cameron

Great anthropology, Charlaine! In the course of my research, I've run into all the types you mention: the survivalists, law enforcement, gun nerds, and sales professionals (who probably also count as ex-law enforcement, military, or enthusiasts). It's endlessly fascinating to watch folks in their environments.


When I was president of SinC/LA, we were invited to sell our chapter anthologies at a law enforcement trade show in Burbank, CA, and to put on a panel about what cops needed to know to write mysteries. The show was for everything police and police departments buy, including loads of guns, batons, knives, etc., all the way up to squad cars. I think we sold a whopping 2 anthologies and we had more people on the panel than in the audience. But the demographics were remarkably similar to what you saw, Charlaine, despite the number of female officers in the area PD's.

Nursing Cover

nice article..
interesting post!!!
ilove reading it...
thanks for sharing..

wench costume

I think the government should revise the law in gun carrying. Perhaps several more tests before a person can be licensed to carry a gun.

The comments to this entry are closed.